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Don't worry, Lane Johnson has no plans to do what Jason Kelce did

Don't worry, Lane Johnson has no plans to do what Jason Kelce did originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

He just watched his long-time teammate, his fellow all-pro, one of his best friends walk away from football.

Jason Kelce played 13 years. All with the Eagles. Lane Johnson is going into Year No. 12. All with the Eagles.

But retirement is the last thing on his mind. He’s wrapped up with getting back to the Super Bowl, playing every game for the first time since 2015 and reclaiming 1st-team all-pro that he won in 2017 and 2022.

He wants to play more. Not less.

“I feel good,” Johnson said. “I'm confident I’ve got some really good years left. I haven't lost any mobility, any of that. No injuries last year, thank God. So, yeah, feeling good, ready to roll.”

Johnson did miss one game last year – he sat out the win over the Bills with groin soreness – and he’s missed 32 games for various reasons since playing all 16 games back in the 2016 season.

“It’s been a while since I played a complete season,” he said. “I’ve missed a game here, a game there, so  I would like to be there for every game. And with the talent that we have, on paper we look really good. And I'm excited. I'm trying to take it to the limit, whatever years I have left.”

At 33 last year, Johnson played as well as he ever has and made his fifth Pro Bowl in the last seven years. He became the 2nd-oldest Eagles offensive tackle to make a Pro Bowl, a year younger than Jason Peters was when he made his ninth and final Pro Bowl in 2016.

With Kelce and Fletcher Cox both retired, it’s kind of reassuring knowing all-time Eagles like Johnson and Brandon Graham are still around. B.G. will be a deep role player in his 15th season but Johnson believes he can be as good as ever at an age where most players are winding down their careers.

The way he prepares and takes care of himself? It wouldn't be a surprise if he has a few very good years left.

And he is signed for another three years.

“You know, every year is a different challenge,” he said Tuesday before minicamp practice. “As guys get older, they lose athleticism, they lose flexibility. I'm trying not to lose any of that. I'm trying to look like I did when I was 27. And it's hard, but it's something that I work on every day.

“I work with our strength staff (and) my trainer back home. So I'm just trying to stay the same and stay consistent and my job now is to bring the young folks with me."

Johnson has started 143 games, 4th-most in Eagles history by a tackle behind Tra Thomas [165], Peters [148] and Jon Runyan [144]. If he stays healthy this year, he’ll trail only Thomas at the end of the season.

He recently turned 34 and while he has no immediate plans to follow in Kelce’s footsteps, he knows he’s much closer to the end than the beginning.

“Yeah, as you get older you try to appreciate the time you have,” he said. “My body feels really good. I mean, I couldn't say that a few years ago. I was really worried about some things, but I put in a lot of work and I feel really good. So I'm hoping in my mid-30s, I can do what few guys can, which is play well and keep it at that level.”

Only 14 offensive tackles have reached a Pro Bowl at 34 or older. 12 of the 14 who are eligible are already in the Hall of Fame.

Johnson lost out to the Lions’ Penei Sewell for 1st-team all-pro last year – Sewell had 118 points on a sliding scale and Johnson was second with 72 - and he said that sort of thing definitely motivates him.

He’s been the best before and he wants to be the best again.

“Yeah, we've got to work on that,” he said with a chuckle. “But yeah, it's a challenge. Lots of great tackles and every year you're trying to be the best, competing with Trent (Williams), competing with Penei, Tristan (Wirfs), all those guys.  “Those guys help me play better, the more competition there is. And that's how it's always been around here.”